To help us understand what the Shared Island Unit, established by the Irish government, is aiming to do we have included:

  • The Taoiseach’s speech to launch the Unit (video + text of speech).
  • Text of Programme for Government, (section that outlines the policy thinking behind establishment of the Shared Island Unit) This in both text and weblink.

This will help us see the policy underpinning it and its aspirations.

Text of Taoiseach’s address, to launch the Shared Island Unit.

Programme for Government 2020

Mission: A Shared Island

We are committed to working with all communities and traditions on the island to build consensus around a shared future. This consensus will be underpinned by the Good Friday Agreement and by the absolute respect for the principle of consent.

We will:

• Establish a Unit within the Department of An Taoiseach to work towards a consensus on a shared island.This unit will examine the political, social, economic and cultural considerations underpinning a future in which all traditions are mutually respected.

• Prioritise protection of the Peace Process and the all-island economy in the context of the future UK-EU Brexit agreement.•Ensure that the Northern Ireland deal, New Decade, New Approach is implemented in full. We acknowledge that full implementation of this agreement and its predecessors is crucial, and we will work with others to achieve that goal.

• Continue to utilise the All Island Civic Dialogue as a forum for addressing Brexit-related issues and other challenges arising for the island.

• Enhance, developand deepen all aspects of north-south cooperation and the all-island economy.•Work with the Executive and the UK Government to deepen multi-agency cross-border co-operation on crime, including information sharing between the Police Service of Northern Ireland and An Garda Síochána.

• Seek to adopt an all-island approach to national planning frameworks.

• Explore how bodies established under the Good Friday Agreement can ensure there is a joined-up approach to environmental issues on an all-island basis and seek to develop an all-island strategy to tackle climate breakdownand the biodiversity crisis.

• Work with the Northern Ireland Executive to deliver key cross-border infrastructure initiatives, including the A5, the Ulster Canal connection from Clones to UpperLough Erne, the Narrow Water Bridge, and cross-border greenways, in particular the Sligo-Enniskillen greenway (subject to feasibility).•Work with the Executive and the UK Government to achieve greater connectivity on the island of Ireland.

• Engage with theUK government and EU to work towards the UK’s continued involvement in the North Seas Countries Offshore Grid Initiative and to maintain existing energy security agreements between the two islands.•Promote an all-island approach to land use planning and river basin management plans to stop cross border pollution.

• Work with the Executive and the UK Government to commit to investment and development opportunities in the North West and Border communities, including third level opportunities for young people from across the region at University of Ulster Magee Campus in Derry.

• Support a north/south programme of research and innovation, including an all-island research hub, through Universities Ireland.

• COVID-19 has reinforced the need to protect public health on the island of Ireland, we will continue to deepen and strengthen north-south health links.122

• Work with the Northern Ireland Executive to build on plans to deliver a Youth Development Sail Training project to provide opportunities for interaction and engagement for young people north and south.

• Ensure the Decade of Centenaries is marked in an inclusive, appropriate and sensitive manner.

• Expand the North South School Exchange Programme and support community based cultural institutions in Border areas.

• Support initiatives by civil society, the community sector, and the arts and cultural sector aimed at promoting constructive and inclusive dialogue around the future of the island.

• With the re-establishment of the Northern Ireland Executive, recommence regular meetings of the North South Ministerial Council, starting with an early Plenary Meeting at Head of Government level, during which a reassessment of the work should be undertaken to ensure a strategic approach.

• Expand and develop mechanisms for engagement between the Houses of the Oireachtas, the Northern Irish Assembly, the UK Parliament as well as the devolved assemblies in Wales and Scotland.

• Ensure that each government department maintains strong links with their Northern Ireland counterpart.

• Support delivery of the PEACE IV programme and work with our EU partners and UK Government to secure the necessary funding for an EU PEACE PLUS programme.


We are committed to working with the UK Government and the political parties in Northern Irelandto address the painful legacy of the Troubles. We will do this as agreed through the implementation of the Stormont House Agreementframework, in order to support wider societal reconciliation, build greater community confidence in policing and meet the legitimate needs of victims and survivors in Northern Ireland and across the island of Ireland

We will engage as a matter of priority with the British Government, including in the framework of the BIIGC, with a view to ensuring access by an independent, international judicial figure to all original documents relating to the Dublin and Monaghan Bombings, as well as the Dublin bombings of 1972 and 1971, the bombing of Kay’s Tavern and the murder of Seamus Ludlow –in accordance with the all-party Dáil motionson these matters.

We will also work with the UK Government and the Executive to support the implementation of the Fresh Start Agreement commitments on tackling residual paramilitarism and support the work of the Independent Reporting Commission.

The full text of the Programme for Government is available at

Categories: Articles